The Espoo archipelago is a place I haven’t explored enough yet, but luckily summer isn’t just over yet! Visiting more of the local islands that are right in front of my doorstep is easy and a wonderful day trip from anywhere in Helsinki, so that it’s something great for the weekend. Iso Vasikkasaari is a beautiful recreational island in Espoo that you can reach by boat from various spots, such as Otaniemi, Nokkala or Haukilahti.
Little getaways from the city, especially in the summertime for day hikes and exploring the areas closeby Helsinki, are my favourite thing to do! I had seen so much of Porkkalanniemi on social media, and I’m not sure why it took me this long to get there. I knew it looked nice, but it totally exceeded my expectations! Magnificent views, rocky shores – actually reminding me a lot of the Åland Islands where I had been recently. Porkkalanniemi is now my favourite spot for a day hike, and let me show you why.
Last autumn, I did my first multi-day hike of the St. Olav Waterway – together with my friend Rania, we completed the first section of this pilgrimage trail from Turku to Korppoo. Now it was time for the second part: continuing from the edge of the Finnish archipelago to the Åland Islands! And what a beautiful trip it was: in the most perfect Finnish summer, this time with my friend Eva, we hiked for a few days amidst the rugged and wild beauty of Åland – spectacular views, the scent of strawberries in the air, ferry rides, wild trails through the forest and along the rocky shores – it was truly the most stunning part of the trail so far!
I’m not gonna lie, Midsummer always gets me. After all these years, and being super content with my Finnish life, the FOMO is heavy around Juhannus. For us foreigners, it can be a tricky time. We don’t have the strong traditions, the family mökki, the associations with Midsummer, the stories of our youth. It doesn’t have this presence in our mind and calendars, so by the time we notice that it’s midsummer time, cabins are unavailable and rental cars all booked up. While last year was particularly difficult for me, I’m more than happy with the plans for 2020, just getting out of the city and being away, just for a little bit, taking a deep breath and start to actively make my own Midsummer memories.
Sauna and Finland really stand for each other, it’s probably one of the things that people first associate with Finland, yet there are so many question marks from visitors and new locals about Finnish sauna culture! It took me some time, in the beginning, to really appreciate sauna and learn all about it, but I have come to really love it. My goal for this year is to create a weekly sauna ritual for myself, and really feel the benefits from it. Here’s my take, my favourite sauna places, and my sauna essentials.
A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by a German video programme about how it is to live in Finland as a woman, and how society is different here compared to other countries – with the new female government being the inspiration for the piece. While I consciously decide not to really share any specific political views, this is a discussion that is more a societal than a political one to me, and there have been instances where I thought about the implications of what it means to be a women in Finland in 2020, compared to home country Luxembourg, or Germany, where I studied.
After all these years in Finland, there are still some things that I always wanted to do and that just haven’t happened. I feel like 2019 was a pretty lazy year in that regard to it’s time to step it up! Maybe you find some inspiration in here as well, for trips, things to do, stuff to see and more.
Fiskars has been recommended to me ever so often over the years, as both a lovely summer and a delightful winter destination for a day trip from Helsinki. About an hour drive west of the Capital, snug around Fiskars river lies this stunningly picturesque village, that is also home to the famous company Fiskars that produces the uncanny orange scissors, knives and so forth; and the Ägräs Distillery which is known for its nature-inspired spirits. Streets lined by red brick houses, a bit of old industrial charm and gorgeous nature around it, Fiskars managed to make me thoroughly happy and finally got me excited for winter and Christmas.
Over the years I have found my love for the outdoors, and Helsinki is the best place to enjoy nature in all seasons. You can live in the buzzing Capital of Finland, but still be in untouched nature within 20 minutes from the city centre. If you are looking for a day trip in the Helsinki area, for a short hike, a seaside adventure or a relaxing afternoon – here are my favourites!